As the snow (still!) falls in New England, our clocks leap forward, and Q1 draws to a close, we’re stepping back to review 2017 PR trends. Many blogs ended 2016 with a look ahead and several PR publications and firms additionally examined which trends they expected to lead PR movement in 2017. Now that we’re a few months in, we revisited some predictions to consider how they may already be affecting your own PR strategy.
- Third party research
We’re particularly interested in watching how this trend will unfold over 2017. Due to the tremendous amount of news stories available on a daily basis (200,000+), every story or press release needs an additional hook. Alongside the unfortunate influx of “faux news,” media is dependent on credible sources and reliable research. As such, the addition of a third-party voice (research firm, external stats, additional quote) to a standard press release is on the rise. Start considering how you can incorporate client testimonials, industry colleagues, analyst firms, or others into the content being produced for public dissemination.
- Live video
If you aren’t using Facebook live, you’re missing an opportunity. Live video (from any platform) made a big impact on news and communication methods in 2016 and we anticipate a greater rise in 2017 as well. With the technology at anyone’s finger tips, PR professionals, marketing teams, and anyone driving business strategy should reconsider how live video can make its way into public relations tactics.
- Dark social
The initial rise of social media and its impact on public relations happened years ago. Firmly established across industries, social media isn’t a new trend. However, dark social is the unmeasurable element of social media that PR teams are currently grappling with. Platforms like SnapChat, WhatsApp, or anything happening over direct message are hidden from analytics tools. Without insight into these social connections, it can be very difficult to calculate the effectiveness of these platforms for businesses or relationships. Public relations strategy should take dark social into account while understanding the limitations of targeting the unknowable.
- Interdisciplinary campaigns
We can attest that almost every PR campaign we create with clients involves some relationship to the marketing or business development teams as well. Through digital avenues like email marketing, social media, or other shared visual content, fields have converged so that public relations necessarily feeds marketing campaigns and vice versa. Designing campaigns and efforts in collaboration with a marketing team and PR firm is crucial for both sides to maximize each other’s success.
- Data all day
Data drives everything. While it’s not a groundbreaking trend, the push for PR teams to regularly consider how we can find data to support our campaigns will continue to influence how we conduct our work. If there’s an option for data, whether social media analytics, wire dissemination stats, influencer or media outlet numbers, or any kind of website traffic monitoring, use it to your advantage when determining the success of PR campaigns.
These five trends are just a handful of the elements driving the direction for PR in the first few months of 2017. Each offers its own inspiration for how to shape or expand the nature of a new PR initiative. We highly encourage an exploration into the effects of the above trends on your public relations and marketing campaigns and how they can have a positive impact in the newest era of digital hustle.
Caroline Haley authors the column “Caroline’s Cloud” and is Vice President, Outreach & Operations for Milldam Public Relations.